As our customers, you have a right to know a bit more about us and where Hopi came from.
Charles and I have been friends for many years, we’ve run our own companies separately in the past. We have always shared the same passions and interests. Whether it be a round of golf, recounting books or podcasts we’ve consumed or our deep love for our family’s. Underlying all of those, was a desire to start a company that could really make an impact on people’s lives.
We’ve both got complementary skill sets but more importantly, a deep appreciation for what each other have achieved. Over the years of setting up our other companies, we’ve made countless errors and had a whole host of low moments. How could we come together, learn from our mistakes and give people something they actually wanted – we just needed an idea…
Sadly, we don’t have a Hollywood story about how we came up with an idea but it did involve coffee. I headed over to Charlie’s for a coffee on a Saturday afternoon (the coffee was good). The conversation centered around our burning desire to start a business all over again, we just didn’t know what we wanted to solve.
It was right in front of us all this time, coffee. We were genuinely going to start a direct to consumer coffee company. We purchased the domain name there and then and we formulated an action plan. We both had other commitments so we intended to try and start a business with a budget of AED 20,000.
“A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one”
We left feeling energized. We delegated initial tasks to each other and committed to catching up a week later with progress. At this stage, we’d not even thought about contact lenses. Our aim was simple, a subscription based, coffee service that would ensure you:
- Never ran out of coffee
- Could try a variety of amazing coffee imported from all over the world
One month would be a Swedish Roasters, the next would be Irish….you catch the drift. We were so amped for this business. In the spirit of brevity, the short story is, it was a good idea, but a logistical nightmare. There was so much dependent on the purchase cost, which fluctuated with each supplier. We knew then, we needed to control the manufacturing process –we needed to create our own product.
The idea was solid but ultimately it had us frustrated by three things:
- Were we really solving a big enough problem?
- We didn’t own the whole process, we wanted to be a vertical player but too much rested on manufacturers/suppliers
- Logistical nightmare. One month Columbia, one month Sweden. Zero consistency!
Then came the pivot – once we knew we wanted to own the whole process, it didn’t take long to land on contact lenses. Charlie called me out of nowhere and opened with two words, “Contact Lenses.” He went on to pitch it to me and here we are.
Had we not had a ‘bad’ idea, and incubated it, we would have never understood exactly what we wanted to do with our next business. If I can give you any advice, no idea is a bad idea, ideas evolve into other, great ideas.
Kristian & Charles
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